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Niagara Falls high-wire walker eyes new feat but without safety precaution

NEW YORK -- A U.S. high-wire artist who crossed Niagara Falls in June is to attempt a new feat over a New Jersey beach, but this time shedding the safety harness that caused some to belittle his previous stunt.

Nik Wallenda's latest challenge, set for Aug. 9, is to walk 1,500 feet (450 meters) some 100 feet (30 meters) above an Atlantic City beach in less than 30 minutes.

In a highly publicized event on June 15, the 33-year-old Wallenda walked across a cable suspended above the Niagara Falls, cheered on by thousands of supporters on either side of the U.S.-Canada border.

Some sought to diminish that feat, saying it was more of a PR exercise than a death-defying stunt as Wallenda wore a safety harness that meant he would come to no real harm.

The acrobat and hire-wire artist said he only wore the harness at the insistence of ABC, the American cable channel that televised the event.

Wallenda hails from a famous family of circus performers who have astonished audiences around the world with their jaw-dropping stunts — at least three have died attempting dangerous feats.

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